Driving advice for every country in Europe

Find up-to-date driving laws and advice for any country in Europe before you visit, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.

Driving in Croatia

Croatia
Population: 4.3m
Area: 56,450 square kilometres
Currency: Kuna (HRK) kn = 100 Lipa

Coronavirus update

Please be aware that driving in Europe may be restricted at the moment.

Check the Foreign travel advice section of the GOV.UK website for up to date advice on all European countries.

From ancient towns scattered with crumbling Roman ruins, to a coastline that flakes off into sun-drenched islands in the warming Adriatic Sea, Croatia is the Mediterranean destination you’ve always dreamed of. 

But if you’re planning a road trip to Croatia, it’s essential you’re fully prepared ahead of time as driving there has many differences to the UK. 

To make your trip to the Continent as safe and effortless as possible, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know before you go, from required documents to rules of the road.

Driving a rented vehicle? Jump to the advice for driving a hire car in Croatia section.  

RAC European Breakdown Cover (Basic and Comprehensive) provides a wide range of benefits should you breakdown in Croatia to ensure you stay safe. 

To supplement this, RAC also offers travel insurance. Cover will include medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings, among many other benefits.

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Advice for driving in Croatia

In an emergency

Emergency telephones linked to an SOS network are installed at 2km intervals along motorways. 

112 - Here's a really important bit of knowledge; you can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting. 

Operators can answer your call in their native language, English or French. 

Driving licence laws in Croatia

driving-tips-for-croatia

Visitors must be aged 18 or over and hold a full, valid driving licence to legally drive in Croatia. Riders of motorcycles up to 125cc must be aged 16 or over, while moped (not exceeding 50cc) riders must be aged 15 or over.  

Driving licences issued in EU and EEA countries are accepted. International driving permits are recognised, but not required.

Things to take when driving in Croatia

Documents for driving in Croatia

Vehicles from the UK can be temporarily imported into Croatia for up to 6 months per 12-month period. In order to stay on the right side of the law, the following documents should always be carried:

  • Full, valid UK driving licence
  • Proof of ID (passport)
  • Motor insurance certificate
  • V5 registration document

Do I need a GB sticker for driving in Croatia?

Yes, you will need a GB sticker on your car to drive in Croatia unless it’s equipped with EU number plates, which show the country code in a circle of stars on a blue background. 

Driving in Croatia packing checklist

In addition to required documents, motorists are also required by law to carry the following items when driving to avoid fines:

  • Reflective jackets (mandatory to carry in your vehicle and wear if you have to get out of the vehicle in an emergency or breakdown)
  • Warning triangle (compulsory in all vehicles) 
  • Headlamp beam deflectors (depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually)
  • First-aid kit (compulsory in all vehicles)
  • Crash helmets are compulsory for riders of mopeds and motorcycles
  • Green Card (although not a legal requirement, it could be useful to back up your insurance documents and show you've got the minimum legal level of cover. To find out more, contact your insurance company)

Rules of the road in Croatia

Overtaking and passing

In Croatia, motorists drive on the right and overtake on the left. 

Overtaking laws are dictated by the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic 1968, which include rules that state:

  • Drivers should not overtake when approaching or on an intersection, level crossing or pedestrian crossing
  • Vehicles being overtaken should keep close to the right-hand side of the carriageway and not accelerate

For more information, read the full convention here.

Warning of approach

Horns should be used in moderation and where necessary to avoid a collision or accident. 

Towing

Camper vans and cars with caravans are not allowed to exceed 12 metres in length, 4 metres in height and 2.55 metres in width. 

Seat belts

It’s compulsory to wear seat belts in the front and rear seats of cars equipped with belts. 

The fine for failing to wear a seat belt is 500 HRK. 

Traffic lights

The international three-colour traffic light system is used in Croatia.

Speed limits in Croatia

Croatia uses the metric system for all road signs, meaning speed limits and other road signs including distance are indicated using kilometres and metres. These are the general speed limits for private cars:

In built-up areas50km/h (unless otherwise indicated by local signs)
Outside built-up areas90km/h – 110km/h (unless otherwise indicated by local signs)
Motorways 130km/h

Special speed restrictions apply to certain classes of vehicle, including mopeds, motorhomes and vehicles with trailers, as well as newly-qualified drivers, so check before travel.

Speeding fines in Croatia

Speeding fines in Croatia range from 300 HRK (around £35) to 15,000 HRK (around £1,825) depending on the speed at which offenders are caught, and the road on which they’re driving.

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Travelling with children in Croatia

driving-advice-croatia 

Children under the age of 12 cannot sit in the front seat of a vehicle unless aged under 2 and placed in a restraint system adapted to their size, and the airbag deactivated (if using a rear-facing seat). 

A child up to 5 years of age must be placed in a seat adapted to his/her size on the rear seat. A child aged between 5 and 12 must travel on the back seat using a 3-point seat belt with booster seat if necessary for their height.

Bike helmet law

Bike helmets are not compulsory in Croatia unless the rider is under the age of 16.

Cyclists riding at night must wear a reflective jacket. 

Driving a camper van and towing a caravan in Croatia

Camper vans and cars with caravans are not allowed to exceed 12 metres in length, 4 metres in height and 2.55 metres in width.

Loads mustn’t exceed 11.5 tonnes at the drive axle and 10 tonnes at a single axle.

Please note: The Department for Transport advises that A-frames are not legal for use by UK campers and caravanners abroad. In practice, this could mean towing your car while it’s fixed to a trailer.*

Penalties and fines in Croatia

On-the-spot fines

Police can impose on-the-spot fines to drivers of foreign-registered cars and may confiscate the passport of a motorist until the fine is paid. Offenders have to have their payment received within eight days. 

Minimum and maximum fines

Fines range from 300 HRK for a minor speeding offence to 15,000 HRK for driving under the influence of drugs. 

Some motoring offences are considered criminal offences and can also lead to licence revocation, vehicle confiscation and a possible prison sentence.

Confiscation of vehicles

A vehicle can be confiscated should a motorist who’s had their licence suspended continue to drive. 

The Cross-Border Enforcement Directive

An EU cross-border directive came into effect in the UK in May 2017. This is aimed at tracking down people who commit traffic offences in cars that are registered in an EU member state different to where the offence was committed.

If you commit a driving offence in Croatia or any other EU country, the crime will effectively follow you back home to the UK where you can still be prosecuted.

Parking in Croatia

Parking regulations

Parking is prohibited on or near a bend, intersection or brow of a hill, and in areas reserved for other activities, like bus/tram stops and taxis. 

Paid parking

In Zagreb, there are parking regulations in place which split the city’s parking areas into three zones: red, yellow and green. The red zone is closest to the city centre and has the highest parking charges and strictest restrictions. 

Enforcement of parking regulations

Illegally-parked vehicles are likely to be clamped and a fine must be paid to have the vehicle released.

Disabled parking access

EU-issued disabled permits should be recognised in Croatia.

There are around 1,000 disabled parking spaces in Zagreb alone, although misuse of these spaces continues to be a problem in the city. 

Drink-driving law in Croatia

Legal limit

The limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.05%.

For professional drivers (driving a bus, coach, HGV or public service vehicle), as well as for younger drivers (up to the age of 24), the limit is 0.00%.

Drink-driving test

Tests are carried out at random by the Croatian police, using breath tests, medical exams and blood or urine samples. All road users may undergo a breath test following a traffic accident.

Croatian tolls

Like many other European countries, Croatia has motorways and other highways with tolls. You can pay for them with cash or a credit card and some even accept foreign currencies like the Euro. 

A pre-paid SMART card system exists for motorists which provides a 10% discount on toll charges, although motorists must register ahead of time to use this system. 

Croatian service areas

There are many service areas along the Croatian motorways.

Availability of fuel

Alongside petrol and diesel, only LPG is widely available in Croatia. Most fuel stations accept payment by credit card. 

Car hire excess cover

Protect yourself from unexpected excess costs when hiring a car.

Driving a hire car in Croatia

Not all of the information in the guide above will be relevant to those looking to rent a hire car in Croatia. Though it might be a good idea to read through everything anyway, here are the most important things to know for drivers of rental vehicles:

Rental information

  • The minimum age to hire a car is 21, although this may vary depending on the vehicle type
  • You need a full, valid UK driving licence and usually a second proof of ID (passport)
  • Car rental companies ask that you have held your licence for a minimum term of 1 year
  • Some companies may require you to use a credit card for deposit
  • You may not be able to drive outside of Croatia unless planned in advance - check with your hire company first
  • Make sure you get car hire excess insurance before your trip to protect yourself from unexpected costs. It's almost always cheaper to do this with a separate insurer and in advance

Hire car driving tips

  • Croatians drive on the right - the opposite to the UK
  • The national speed limit on motorways in Croatia, unless otherwise indicated on local signage, is between 110km/h (68mph) and 130km/h (80 mph). On a main road outside a built-up area it's 90 km/h. For built-up areas it’s 50km/h.
  • Dial 112 in an emergency
  • If seat belts are fitted to your car, they must be worn by both drivers and passengers.
  • The blood alcohol content limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.05%. That's lower than the 0.08% in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, but the same as Scotland.

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Driving in Croatia FAQs

  • Can I drive my car in Croatia?

    Yes. You must have a valid UK licence and V5 document, along with sufficient insurance and breakdown cover for your trip. You should also familiarise yourself with the laws around driving in Croatia before you set off to keep yourself and other road users safe.

  • Can I drive my car in Zagreb?

    Zagreb is often the first port of call for motorists heading into Croatia and while it’s easy to drive in Zagreb, be aware that the city can get congested with cars, other road users and trams.

    In Zagreb, there are parking regulations in place which split the city’s parking areas into three zones: red, yellow and green. The red zone is closest to the city centre and has the highest parking charges and strictest restrictions.

  • Can I drive from Zagreb to Dubrovnik?

    Yes, although considering Croatia is a fairly small country you might be surprised to know that the journey via coastal highway is around 600km, takes around 6.5 hours and takes you through Bosnia-Herzegovina, which means you will need your passport in order to pass through border control.

  • How do I drive to Croatia?

    Getting to Croatia by car from the UK isn’t the quickest journey in the world, but it’s definitely an adventure. Firstly, you’ll need to take your car across the Channel to Calais on either a ferry from Dover or the Eurotunnel from Folkestone.

    Once you’re in Calais, drive down through France, Germany, Austria and Slovenia before crossing the border into Croatia, which should take you just under 15 hours.

  • What side of the road do they drive on in Croatia?

    Unlike in the UK, motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road in Croatia and overtake on the left – which can take some adjustment if you’re used to driving on the left.

  • Can you drive in Croatia with a UK licence?

    Yes, you can legally drive in Croatia with your UK-issued driving licence without the need to apply for an International Driving Permit.

  • Do I need extra insurance to drive in Croatia?

    Croatia and the UK are both part of the Green Card System, a Europe-wide scheme allowing all countries to recognise foreign vehicle insurance policies of visiting motorists, so it’s quite possible your existing insurance will cover you.

    However, before setting off on your trip, you should contact your insurance provider to make sure no additional cover is required, as you won’t be able to buy short-term cover at the border entry points.

  • Is driving in Croatia dangerous?

    Driving in Croatia is generally safe along the main highways, although road conditions vary significantly outside of urban areas and on the islands. Be careful on mountain roads if you’re unaccustomed to them and if you’re heading to any islands check ferry timetables beforehand to avoid disappointment.

  • Do I need a GB sticker to drive in Croatia?

    You will need to display a GB sticker on the rear of your car unless it has EU number plates with the country code in a circle of stars on a blue background.

  • Do I need headlamp converters in Croatia?

    Yes. Depending on your car, you should use deflector stickers or adjust the beam manually. This is so you don’t dazzle oncoming traffic when driving on the right side of the road at night.

  • What is the national speed limit in Croatia?

    The national speed limit on Croatian motorways is 130km/h (80 mph). If you’re driving on a main road outside a built-up area, the limit varies between 90km/h and 110km/h, and for built-up areas it’s 50km/h.

  • Do I need snow chains in Croatia?

    It is compulsory to have snow chains aboard your vehicle between November and April, if such announcements relating to current weather conditions are made. You should also carry a shovel in these situations.

  • How much are toll roads in Croatia?

    The amount you pay per toll will depend on the length of the road and the area you’re driving in.

    Visit https://www.viamichelin.com to calculate the cost of your journey.

  • How do you pay for toll roads in Croatia?

    There are two ways to pay for tolls – electronically or manually. Most toll booths will accept cash or a credit card and some even accept foreign currencies like the Euro.

    A pre-paid SMART card system exists for motorists which provides a 10% discount on toll charges, although motorists must register with authorities ahead of time to use this system.

  • Does Croatia use mph or km/h?

    Croatia uses the metric system for all road signs, so speed limits and other signs including distance are shown in kilometres and metres.

UK Government travel advice

See up-to-date travel advice


Source: Information in this document is sourced from the AIT (Alliance Internationale de Tourisme) & the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) and, to the best of the RAC’s knowledge, is correct at the time of publication (November 2020).
 
*https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/helpandadvice/travelplanning/eurotraveladvice/europeancampingguide/page5/

British Embassy Zagreb

Office: British Embassy Zagreb
Street Address: Ivana Lucica 4
ZIP Code: 10000
City: Zagreb
Country: Croatia

Telephone: (+385-1) 6009100, 6009122
Fax: (+385-1) 6009111, 6009298, 6009297
Email: [email protected] [email protected]
Website: http://www.britishcouncil.org/croatia/

British Consulate Dubrovnik

Office: British Consulate Dubrovnik
Street Address: Buniceva Poljana 3/I
ZIP Code: 20000
City: Dubrovnik
Country: Croatia

Telephone: (+385-20) 324597
Fax: (+385-20) 324597
Email: [email protected]

British Consulate Split

Office: British Consulate Split
Street Address: Obala Hrvatskog Narodnog Preporoda 10/III
ZIP Code: 21000
City: Split
Country: Croatia

Telephone: (+385-21) 341464, 346007
Fax: (+385-21) 362905
Email: [email protected]

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover

† Comparison based on RAC Arrival against standard level of cover from other major providers as of 06.02.20

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover